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Ulsan, which runs in first place, and Jeonbuk, which fell at the bottom… Mixed joys and sorrows of ‘Hyundai is a rival’

Ulsan, 3-1 complete win against Jeju,
5 wins, no losses, leading solo system
Jeonbuk, 1-2 come-from-behind loss to Pohang
Fans demand the resignation of the coach and general manager

K-League 1 best rivals Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai. ‘메이저놀이터Defending champion’ Ulsan is approaching the most consecutive wins since the opening of the K-League, sweeping all the victories in the new season. On the other hand, last season’s runner-up Jeonbuk, who shouted ‘Down with Ulsan’, is in the lower ranks and is crying.

Ulsan won 3-1 against Jeju United in the 2023 K League 1 Round 5 away match held at Jeju World Cup Stadium on the 2nd. Ulsan took the lead with Jeong Seung-hyun’s goal in the 6th minute of the first half, followed by Joo Min-gyu in the 17th minute and Kang Yun-gu in the 28th minute, leading the game leisurely. Jeju’s Yuri Jonatan scored a consolation goal just before the end of the first half, but it was not enough to turn the game around. With this, Ulsan became the first team to record five consecutive wins in the K-League 1 since the promotion and relegation system was introduced in 2012. The record for the most consecutive wins after the opening of the K-League is 7 consecutive wins held by Suwon Samsung in the 1998 season and Seongnam FC in the 2003 season. While Ulsan approached the record, it established a solo system by widening the gap with second place Daejeon Hana Citizen (3 wins, 2 draws, 11 points) to 4 points.

On the other hand, Jeonbuk, where Hyundai is a rival, has an atmosphere of mourning. Jeonbuk, which had won the K-League 1 for five consecutive years since 2017, suffered a 1-2 come-from-behind defeat in a home game against the Pohang Steelers held at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium the day before. Jeonbuk, who suffered two consecutive losses, fell to 8th place with 1 win, 1 draw and 3 losses (4 points). Jeonbuk has only scored 5 goals in 5 games this season and has lost its proprietary patent, ‘Dak-gong’.

The anger of Jeonbuk fans reached its peak at this appearance. In the game against Pohang, fans raised banners criticizing coach Kim Sang-sik and CEO Heo Byung-gil and shouted for their resignation. Coach Kim also blamed himself, saying, “Being 3 losses in 5 games is an unacceptable result for Jeonbuk,” but it was not enough to appease the angry fans. Fans blocked the team’s bus for three hours after the game, and they were able to leave only after coach Kim apologized to the fans, saying, “I will not avoid it if I have to take responsibility.”

Meanwhile, Suwon drew 1-1 against Gangwon FC at the Suwon World Cup Stadium on the 2nd. Suwon and Jeju have 2 draws, 3 losses and 2 points, and they have not yet added a win since the opening. Gangwon (3 draws, 2 losses, 3 points), Suwon, and Jeju, which also have no wins, remain in 10th to 12th place.

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